Adam and Mitchell are twins. Mitchell died last year at this time after bravely battling an unusual form of cancer for ten months. He was fifteen and a half. This week is devoted to honoring Mitchell and Adam, two young men who came into this world together, and now one journeys in a way difficult or perhaps impossible for us to understand while the other is here, learning and affirming his life. Adam is an inspiration for us all and his words are wise, though he is young.
These are the words Adam spoke at the one year anniversary memorial for his brother.
1 Year Without My Brother Mitchell
It’s hard to believe that its already been one year to the day. Mitchell’s been gone a long time and it’s been difficult for me to let him go. This year I’ve felt as if I’m moving in slow motion and everything around me is moving so fast, and I just want to go back, back to when things were normal. I feel sad and alone a lot and sometimes it all feels like a bad dream. I usually wake up in the morning confused questioning myself about the truth that I already know the answers to. Is this all real or is it still a dream, how did this happen to me, where’s Mitchell? I know my life won’t ever be the same. Sometimes I try to hide the truth, pretend like it never happened, but it’s too hard and too painful to forget.
After Mitchell died, he opened up emotions that I never knew I had. It’s been hard trying to express these new emotions and to let go what I’ve been feeling and holding inside. It’s very difficult for someone who’s been traumatized at such a young age to try and relax from stress, frustration, and anxiety of trying to live a normal life. It’s unnatural to have these kinds of feelings and emotions when you’re so young and inexperienced, to feel the pain of losing someone so close and dear to them. Times will be tough growing up without Mitchell, but he always told me, “Seize the day…live life as if it were your last…and make a difference in your life and in the lives of others around you.”
It was never easy being a twin, but after 15 long years of fighting, arguing, and a disliking for one another I have finally realized how much I miss it all. Mitchell fought strong and hard for ten long months but unfortunately the cancer took over and he passed on. We did wonderful, remarkable, great things together, things that I’ll never forget.
Mitchell died at such a young age and he missed all the new and great joys that were waiting for him (driving, high school, kids, growing up, the list is endless). So I encourage you, if there is something you want to say, something you want to do that has been hiding in your mind, don’t put it off, don’t wait for the right moment for it may never come and years later you’ll regret that you had never took the risk.
Many times I’ve noticed things don’t add up to the way they use to. It’s harder to be happy or find happiness in the things that I do or enjoy. It’s different every time the family goes out to dinner because there’s always an empty seat that should be filled. You know something’s wrong when you get in trouble but there’s no one there to blame for it. You feel funny when you hear the word twins because I’m no longer one myself. And it just doesn’t seem right when you go out with friends and you know you should be having a fun time, but the fun never comes to you. There are times when you feel something hit you flat in the face when you least expect it, but you don’t know what it is. Maybe it will come in constant waves of emotion when you can’t do anything but cry yourself to sleep, or pound on a punching bag for countless hours. It’s hard to imagine living in a world where Mitchell does not, or to be in a place worth living if you don’t have your best friend to share it with.
I had no idea that life would be this hard. Its heart wrenching to look back when I was younger always getting into fights with him, never really paid any attention to who he was, and really didn’t like having him as a twin brother. But now I miss him more than ever. I miss the sound of his voice, I miss having those little conversations with him, I miss the expressions on his face when you’d get angry, sad, or happy, and I miss his smiling face.
I remember when Mitchell and I were younger; dad would always tell us both how lucky we were to have each other. It’s finally dawned on me that yeah, we really were lucky to have each other but instead we went on fighting and took each other for granted, which has been my biggest regret. So don’t let the differences of being brother and sister, sister and brother hold you back from loving one another. You have no idea how lucky YOU are to still have each other. So take care of one another and don’t let your pride and hate lead you away from each other.
Every day it seems to get harder and harder to try and remember the sound of Mitchell’s loving voice. He’s lived by my side all my life yet I still can’t remember him calling me to help him get out of bed or the sound of arguing that would turn into fist fights. I miss having someone I could fight, punch, and kick and being able to get away with it. It’s hard to believe but I’m afraid to get rid of anything that Mitchell might have touched or used for the feeling that there is a part of him still in it.
Some smells that I take in refresh the mind of unforgettable moments throughout my history. When it rains I can catch the scent of every tree and the smell of new wet concrete. When I smell rain, I see Mitchell splashing through deep puddles that cover the street in front of our house. The look of joy and a smile of laughter as the rain beats down on our faces.
When you watch someone grow up beside you, they tend to become a part of yourself. Every day you spend time with someone, they will grow with in your heart. They know everything about you, which makes it all so much harder for you to let them go. If it so happens they do leave you, it feels apart of yourself is missing. You try to go out and find that missing part to get them back, but you can’t. They’re gone, only but a memory living inside you.
Death is inevitable, we can’t hide from it but I’ve seen ways it changes people. “Death can change the thoughts and feelings on how a person’s life should run differently, but once experienced death first hand, it can split your life’s path into a fork, and when you reach that part in your life you have to make a decision on which path to take, for each way is equally difficult.”
Everyone needs help from time to time, someone to look out for them, to make sure their ok, to make sure they’re ready, to take that step back into the world. So now I finally believe it’s time to pick myself up off the ground, time to grow up, and time to let go.